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Simson: EVR Cargo's Russian investment to include private investors

Freight trains at Tallinn's Ülemiste station.
Freight trains at Tallinn's Ülemiste station. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

The plan of state-owned railway freight company EVR Cargo to invest €35 million into the Russian transit sector needed the participation of private investors to mitigate risks, Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kadri Simson (Center) finds.

Simson pointed out to daily Postimees that the company’s plans had been confirmed by its supervisory board before the composition of the latter had changed. “Already then I told the management and the supervisory board that in my opinion the plan required the participation of private investors to mitigate risks,” Simson said.

As far as she was aware, EVR Cargo was working on that, the minister added.

EVR Cargo wants to invest €35 million in a scheme under which they would set up a subsidiary in Russia, and through this subsidiary buy hundreds of container flatcars and open wagons that would then be leased to large Russian railway companies.

According to EVR Cargo’s management, there is currently a unique opening in the Russian market, as Russia introduced a measure last year that forces freight cars that are older than 22 years out of the market.

This has led to the number of available cars shrinking by 200,000, which again has driven up leasing prices for dearly needed rolling stock.

EVR Cargo CEO Raul Toomsalu is convinced that the risks are negligible, and the plan has support in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications in the person of deputy secretary-general Ahti Kuningas, who agrees with Toomsalu.

Simson meanwhile doesn’t think that the plan amounts to a new business direction for the company. “It’s important to point out that mainly companies working with Asian-European freight volumes have expressed interest in leasing railway cars,” Simson said.

The minister confirmed that there was no aspect of the plan she was aware of that would go against sanctions currently in place against Russia.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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